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Filipino Restaurant Bistro 1521 Now Open in Ballston

Just months after national chain Applebee’s closed in Ballston, its replacement, Filipino restaurant Bistro 1521, has opened its doors.

Located at 900 N. Glebe Road on the first floor of the the Virginia Tech Research Center and next door to the recently-opened Stageplate Bistro, the new spot occupies a large restaurant space, with seating capacity for 220 inside and 60 on the outside patio. It opened July 31.

The restaurant has a slew of Filipino staples, including soups, salads, rice and dishes with noodles and various meats. Bistro 1521 also has various grill and house specialty dishes including jumbo squid stuffed with tomatoes and onions; Cebu crab cakes and a “1521 Burger” with ground beef, longaniza (a Spanish sausage), atchara (pickle) and sweet potato fries.

Those behind the restaurant include Manny Tagle, bartender Jo-Jo Valenzuela and wife Christina Valenzuela, and general manager Solita Wakefield. Wakefield was previously a co-owner of Bistro 7107, a Filipino restaurant on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, which recently closed. Jo-Jo Valenzuela said the dishes will be recognizable to those who love Filipino food.

“We want to be careful about calling our food authentic, because everyone’s mother cooks meals differently,” he said. “But we’re definitely traditional Filipino comfort food.”

The restaurant’s name refers to the year Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, and the artwork on the wall includes references to the country’s flag and other part of its history.

Dinner service begins at 4 p.m. each day, with lunch and brunch services set to launch in the near future.

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